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Iran holds top military drills in major oil waterway in ‘war before the war’

Iran held top military drills Friday in a joint effort involving air, sea and land forces, in what one major general referred to as “the war before the war” while he spoke against the threat Israel and the U.S. pose.

The drills, held in the Strait of Hormuz which sees roughly 25% of the world’s oil transported through it, were dubbed “Zolfaghar-1401” and involved commandos, airborne infantry, drones, various aircraft and submarines, according to local reports. 

The drills were held to “improve readiness in confronting foreign threats and any possible invasion,” reported the Middle Eastern Eye.

Iranian soldiers take part in an annual military drill in the coast of the Gulf of Oman and near the strategic Strait of Hormuz, in Jask, Iran on Dec. 30, 2022. 

Iranian soldiers take part in an annual military drill in the coast of the Gulf of Oman and near the strategic Strait of Hormuz, in Jask, Iran on Dec. 30, 2022. 
(Iranian Army / Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

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However, while Iran frequently holds military drills, the exercise came amid heightened tension with the West, particularly the U.S. and its ally Israel.

Iran’s Maj. Gen. Gholam Ali Rashid said the drills were held because Tehran “want[s] our enemies to know that we are ready.”

Rashid warned the U.S. and any other nation against supporting Israel and deemed Jerusalem its number one threat.

Iranian soldiers take part in an annual military drill in the coast of the Gulf of Oman and near the strategic Strait of Hormuz, in Jask, Iran on Dec. 30, 2022. 

Iranian soldiers take part in an annual military drill in the coast of the Gulf of Oman and near the strategic Strait of Hormuz, in Jask, Iran on Dec. 30, 2022. 
(Iranian Army / Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

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“The Zionist regime is the first priority as a threat to Iran’s national security,” he told Iran’s Mizan News Agency on the sidelines of the drills Friday.

Rashid said it is assumed that Israel works in coordination with the U.S. and threatened that any country that assists Israel could be subject to Tehran’s Quds Force – a branch of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps reportedly responsible for extraterritorial military and clandestine operations.

“We are the generation of war, and we have learned war with war,” he said. “We hope that the enemy will not seek to test our will and strength because he will definitely not bear the costs.”

Iranian soldiers take part in an annual military drill in the coast of the Gulf of Oman and near the strategic Strait of Hormuz, in Jask, Iran on Dec. 30, 2022.

Iranian soldiers take part in an annual military drill in the coast of the Gulf of Oman and near the strategic Strait of Hormuz, in Jask, Iran on Dec. 30, 2022.
(Iranian Army / Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

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Iran has long opposed the presence of the U.S. Navy in the region, and several standoffs have occurred between Western militaries, shipping companies and Iran relating to oil transport and international sanctions. 

Admiral Habibollah Sayyari reportedly told the official the IRNA news agency that foreign forces in the region need to leave “so that regional countries can establish stability and peace in their neighborhood.”

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